If you refer to yourself in quotation marks on your own Twitter feed, does it get you out of witness tampering charges? This partly existential, purely Trumpian question arose this morning when the President of the United States tweeted:
“I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about “President Trump.” Nice to know that some people still have “guts!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
This came soon after Trump fired off a couple of other tweets declaring that his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is cooperating with the Mueller investigation, must be making up lies and shouldn't get any leniency for his work with federal prosecutors looking into Trump.
So, to recap: In Trump's opinion Stone has "guts" because he'll never testify against Trump. Also, Paul Manafort, a convicted felon who just blew up his cooperation deal with Mueller, is "a brave man" who "refused to 'break'" and therefore has earned "such respect" from Trump. But Michael Cohen, who Trump hired and worked closely with for many years, is a "weak person" who has done "TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things."
Trump has long surrounded himself with liars, and for quite a while he's been using Twitter to praise the liars who impede the Mueller probe and castigate any former confidante who agrees to tell Mueller the truth about Trumpworld.
But did the president finally go too far this morning?
That's George Conway, DC lawyer and husband of Kellyanne Conway, pointing to the federal law against witness tampering and suggesting Trump be prosecuted.
To which Neal Katyal, a former Solicitor General of the United States, responded:
George is right. This is genuinely looking like witness tampering. DOJ (at least with a nonfake AG) prosecutes cases like these all the time. The fact it's done out in the open is no defense. Trump is genuinely melting down, and no good lawyer can represent him under these circs https://t.co/zqFUoQvWTf
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) December 3, 2018
Which leads us back to the somewhat existential question:
Maybe President Trump thinks witness tampering is not a crime if it's done by "President Trump"?